Written by Stacy Chbosky
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NdFeB magnets are a type of very powerful, rare earth magnets. Rare earth magnets were developed in the 1970s and '80s, and are known for their intense strength. NdFeB stands for Neodymium (Nd) Iron (Fe) Boron (B), the metals which form the alloy which makes the magnet. Another type of rare earth magnet is made of Samarium Cobalt, but it is both more expensive and heavier than Neodymium magnets.

Teaching with NdFeB Magnets

NdFeB magnets, also known as NIBs, are popular teaching tools. Students are fascinated with their powerful magnetic pull. Since elaborately shaped models can be made using NIB magnets, they can be used to teach molecular biology, chemistry, geometry, or magnetism. Teachers sometimes create models, then pass them around the classroom, or they can hand out the individual magnet shapes, and have students create the models themselves.

Others use NIBs to create magnetic sculptures. I started sculpting with magnets a few years ago, and have found it to be a very relaxing and pleasurable hobby. I sometimes give the sculptures away as gifts, and sometimes keep them to decorate my own home.

If you or your children are very interested in science, try experimenting with Ferrofluid. Ferrofluid is magnetic liquid. Pour some on a plate, then experiment by moving a NIB magnet underneath the bottom of the plate. The result is incredibly intricate, fascinating black spikes of liquid that look solid.

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